Today’s writing inspiration comes from Kimberly Johnson, Ed.D. She is a literacy coach and media specialist in a public school in rural Georgia. She enjoys writing as a guest blogger for www.writerswhocare.com and counts down the days between monthly 5-Day Writing Challenges.  She is the author of Father, Forgive Me: Confessions of a Southern Baptist Preacher’s KidFollow her on Twitter at @kimjohnson66.

Inspiration

In The Right Words at the Right Time by Marlo Thomas, celebrities and famous personalities share their stories about how prophetic words delivered at pivotal moments helped shape the course of their future. For example, Shaquille O’Neal’s mother’s guiding words to him were, “Later doesn’t always come to everybody.”

Process

Consider the people whose words were your guiding lights in direction and decision making. How did they help you make an important decision or to see things from a more clarifying perspective?
Challenge: Raise a Glass to the Literary Avant-Garde by writing a “Right Words at the Right Time” verse. Embolden your right words at the right time.

Kim’s Poem

The Greatest Gift

Saturday, December 22, 1984
the letter arrived

dated
Wednesday, December 19, 1984

from 13-year-old
Tolliver,
whose world was as dark
as his skin.
“Hi, Kimberly,
This is your friend,
Tolliver.”

Tolliver
from Camp Leo for the Blind,
where I’d been a counselor that summer.

Tolliver
who lived in the inner-city
with a disabled mother
and a recently deceased father
and 4 sighted brothers and sisters.

Tolliver
who had tucked a one dollar bill
inside the letter, wishing me
a Merry Christmas
as I read his gut-punching news
through blinding tears,
Christmas tree lights twinkling
across the room,
the merriment of music losing.

“What do I do with this?” I asked Dad,
a minister
with all the right answers
in 1984.

“Let me think,” he said,
taking the envelope.

Sunday, December 23, 1984
from the Pulpit:

Sermon – The Greatest Gifts of Christmas,
closing story

“Hi, Kimberly,
This is your friend
Tolliver,”
Dad read,
sharing snippets
of passages to
eyes filling with tears,
sniffles echoing.

He turned to me
with his answer:

“You keep it.
It’s the greatest gift you’ve
ever gotten
because it came
from deep within the heart
of the giver
when it was
all
he had to give.”

Today’s writing inspiration comes from Kimberly Johnson, Ed.D. She is a literacy coach and media specialist in a public school in rural Georgia. She enjoys writing as a guest blogger for www.writerswhocare.com and counts down the days between monthly 5-Day Writing Challenges.  She is the author of Father, Forgive Me: Confessions of a Southern Baptist Preacher’s KidFollow her on Twitter at @kimjohnson66.

Inspiration

As writer/reporter Tom Ryan, author of Following Atticus and Will’s Red Coat, was losing his dear friend Vicki Pearson to cancer, he read aloud to her from her bedside the 32nd stanza of Whitman’s “Song of Myself” from Leaves of Grass:

I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain’d,
I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.
So they show their relations to me and I accept them,
They bring me tokens of myself, they evince them plainly in their possession.

Full text of poem available here: https://whitmanarchive.org/published/LG/1891/poems/27

Ryan’s life has been one of turning from the distractions of daily life to things that silently resonate deep within the soul – things that matter more. He uses a poem by Whitman that, in many ways, foreshadows Ryan’s own turn from a heavily populated society to one of quiet solitude with his dog.

Process

Raise a Glass to the Literary Avant-Garde by writing a “Turn From” verse, using Whitman’s line starters to create your own poem, or scroll through the linked poem and find another passage to use as line starter motivation today.
From what or where or whom do you turn?
Toward what or where or whom do you turn?
What would happen if you turned toward something new or away from something you’ve always known?
Perhaps you can imagine a future perspective or imagine the turns taken by a fictional character or superhero.

Kim’s Poem

I think I could turn and Manhattan-dwell
I’d stand and watch folks buy! and sell!
They do not gather their own eggs
They do not stop for one who begs
They do not nap on front porch swings
Not one picks the crops rain brings
Not one serves biscuits with gravy
Not one offers sweet tea! Crazy!
So they swiftly move from place to place
They meet deadlines at break-neck pace

I wonder if I’d miss life on this farm
Did I jump the gun on greener-grass charm?